The Ravenswood City School District will lease its district office and an unused school site in Menlo Park to help raise revenues to increase teacher compensation and fund initiatives such as early learning programs.
District plans to select tenant and negotiate terms by the end of December, board said at a meeting on September 9. The 110,000 square foot construction space where the James Flood Magnet School previously operated, at 320 Sheridan Drive, is west of US Highway 101, adjacent to Flood Park, and is on a site of approximately two acres and a half. The district office is located on four acres of land at 2120 Euclid Avenue, East Palo Alto, and represents approximately 176,000 square feet of construction space.
“The district needs to be financially stable over the long term, and this is Ravenswood’s only self-sufficient route to compete financially with neighboring affluent communities (like Menlo Park and Palo Alto),” district staff noted in a presentation. “Historically, we have always chosen community benefit by calling on community partners. … If we are to keep our adjusted budget in line with other districts in the county, Ravenswood must have the highest per pupil funding in the county and must develop sustainable and reliable sources of income. “
This school year, the district expects to receive a record amount of global funding thanks to the stimulus, the shift to basic aid and a record donation from the Ravenswood Educational Foundation over $ 6 million this school year compared to $ 3 million in the recent past, according to the 2021-22 district budget. This places it in the top third of the county’s districts on a per pupil funding basis.
“Yet when we adjust to student needs, even with this record funding, RCSD receives about the same amount per student as the typical county district,” staff members note. “Without these one-time funds, we will fall below the county average in terms of per student funding.”
By 2022, the district plans to move its offices, which will be demolished. The district office is probably two or three times the size of what’s currently needed, according to a January facilities update for the council.
This school year, spending per student (nearly $ 30,000 per student) will likely be the “highest on record in Ravenswood history,” business manager Will Eger told the meeting. The funds are used to reduce class sizes, with an average of 17 students per class this school year.
The district plans to choose the responsible highest bidder. Officials noted that this could be complex, as some bidders may include a proposed high ground lease, then negotiate down, add unwanted payment terms, or come up with an unworkable project.
The neighborhood derives a “significant income” (about 6% of its budget) from renting properties it owns in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, such as the former site of Menlo Oaks School at Alto International, depending on the presentation. It has nine formal leases, bringing in about $ 2.7 million annually, according to the presentation.
Primary school pays around $ 1.4 million this school year to lease the former Brentwood School site at 951 O’Connor Street in East Palo Alto, which the Ravenswood District closed in 2020. The lease is for 10 years and the rent increases by 2% each year, according to the update of the installations.
The Belle Haven school site is leased to All Five Kindergarten. The Silicon Valley International School leases the former Willows Oak School site for about $ 1.1 million per year, according to the district.
In 2018, the district had considered building affordable housing for teachers at the flood site, but the plan never came to fruition.